Green joins list of blundering England goalkeepers
Robert Green wrote his name onto the lengthening list of
blundering England goalkeepers.
Green let a routine shot from Clint Dempsey slip through his
grasp for the Americans’ only goal in their high-profile World Cup
opener, a 1-1 draw in Group C.
From David Seaman at the 2002 World Cup and Scott Carson in a
Euro 2008 qualifier to several gaffes by David “Calamity” James,
England has a growing reputation for producing poor
Former star keepers such as Gordon Banks, Ray Clemence and Peter
Shilton would likely have dealt easily with Dempsey’s low,
left-footed drive in the 40th minute at Rustenburg on Saturday.
Green was well-positioned as he went down to stop the ball, but
it slipped off his gloves and rolled into the net to make it 1-1.
He was visibly deflated after his horrendous mistake, which
silenced the thousands of England fans.
“I think it’s one of them freak things,” said England captain
Steven Gerrard, who scored his team’s fourth-minute goal. “I don’t
think you can criticize the goalkeeper. They’ve been talking about
the ball. I think he’ll make some important saves for us. We’re all
England coach Fabio Capello said he hasn’t decided whether to
start Green for the second game against Algeria in Cape Town on
“He made a mistake, but in the second half he made a good
save,” Capello said. “We have time to decide, to speak with him.
Afterwards, I will decide.”
Green also got sympathy from U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, whose
string of saves helped his team get a point and earned him man of
the match honors.
“I feel terrible for him,” the American said. “He’s got broad
shoulders. He’ll bounce back.”
England supporters are used to epic errors from their
Seaman allowed a long-range free kick from Ronaldinho to float
over his head for Brazil’s winning goal in a 2-1 victory at the
2002 World Cup.
James let a long-range drive by Austria’s Andreas Ivanschitz
squirm under his body for the equalizer in a 2-2 draw in World Cup
qualifying in 2004 after his team led 2-0. James’ habit of wildly
racing out of his area has also previously been a common – and
scary – sight for fans.
Paul Robinson went to deal with a routine backpass from teammate
Gary Neville in a Euro 2008 qualifier in Croatia, but the ball hit
a divot to bounce over his foot and into the net.
While Carson should have dealt comfortably with Niko Kranjcar’s
shot at Wembley in another Euro 2008 qualifier, the ball bounced
past him in a 3-2 loss that virtually ended England’s qualifying
As for Saturday’s fumble, Dempsey has seen enough of them to
wonder when it would be his turn to score on one.
“It’s one of those that you see and people say, ‘How come that
never happens to me?”’ Dempsey said. “Finally, it’s a goal that
probably the keeper should have made a save on. They all count the
same when they go in.”